10 Questions with ... Ian "Slacker" Richards
October 15, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Back in April of 2004 Nathan Reed gave me my first shot on-air in Flint, MI at WRCL - Club 93.7. I remember the first song I talked up was "Westside Connection." I have Clay Church to thank. If he wouldn't have been on the mic making fun of me for looking like Patrick Swayze from 'Road House,' I might have never wanted to get into radio. I later worked my way into full-time nights/MD. While doing that I traveled to Detroit every weekend to work part-time at WDZH - 98.7 AMP Radio for three years until I was offered MD/afternoons.
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
Flint is a very unique market. I've never been at a station where the phones were constantly ringing. Didn't matter what you were doing; people always wanted to talk or say something. Musically, Club 93.7 is a perfect fit for Flint and I never really looked at it as work.
2) What is your favorite part of the job?
That's a toss-up. I really enjoy talking with listeners via Twitter, Facebook, Snap Chat, phones ... however they can reach me, I love it! On the other hand, music is a passion of mine. Since I was 8 or 9, I've loved music and would sit in my room for hours listening to cassette singles/CDs or the radio.
3) What is the most challenging part of the job?
I know I just said I have a passion for music, but I'd also have to say it's the most challenging part of my job. I had to make the adjustment from scheduling/finding hits in Rhythm radio, to now paying more attention to Top 40/Pop. It's sometimes hard to break a new artist when you have heavy hitters like Katy Perry, Britney, JT, Lady Gaga and others dropping new music. Believe me, it's a good challenge to have.
4) What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
I love me some golf. I've pretty much beat everyone in the Detroit-CBS building and I'm looking for new competition. My wife Amanda knows that if I'm not working the weekend, I'm probably going to be on the course. I accept any challenge. Please e-mail me at Slacker@987ampradio for more details.
5) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Can I pick two? I'm picking two! In no particular order, I'd have to say Buster from Wired 96.5 in Philly and Jay Sparxxx at KISS in Charlotte. Buster is just so talented at what he does and really understands radio and how to connect with listeners. It's radio, so we aren't reinventing the wheel, but Buster always finding cool new ways to be entertaining. Jay Sparxxx is one of the best up-and-coming talents out there. He used to be my intern in Flint and now has his own night show in Charlotte. I'd have to say the reason he's been so successful in his short career is because I taught him everything! LOL.
6) Who would be a "dream guest" to have on your show?
Being born and raised in Michigan, that's an easy one. EMINEM! I've never had the chance to meet Em or talk to him, but hands down he's a dream guest. Honestly I'd probably be too nervous to even ask him anything. I'd be Chris Farley like "Remember that one time you put out 'Stan,' yeah that was cool!"
7) Looking back, which years hold the best musical memories for you and who were your favorite acts at that time?
1997-99. Don't judge me. I was a HUGE Master P fan. That's when 'Ghetto D' dropped. If you remember, No Limit released like an album a month (still waiting for the Mercedes album to drop). I literally was the coolest white kid in my school! Yes, we even performed 'Make Em Say Ugghhh' in our 8th grade talent show. That VHS is stored away in a safe place.
8) What is it about our industry that keeps you wanting to do it for a living?
Connecting with listeners every day. I love being live and local. Some stations voicetrack key dayparts and it's hard for them to really connect with their audience. Having someone call and say "thanks" is one of the biggest 'pats on the back' you can receive in my opinion.
9) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Be yourself. Don't try and act like someone you're not. Be genuine. Listeners are easier to connect with when you act like a normal person. It's always fun when a listener recognizes your voice just in conversation. If you scream, yell, puke, there is probably a good chance you aren't being genuine ... unless that's how you always talk, then you're just weird.
10) What advice you would give people new to the business?
If this is really what you want to do, then don't give anything less than 110%. This is a 24/7 job. Music is always changing, news is always breaking. Just because your shift is over doesn't mean you are finished working.
For someone vacationing in your market, what one thing would you say they "must see"?
Detroit. Travel downtown, enjoy a Tigers or Lions game. Catch a show at The Fox Theater or historic St. Andrews Hall. Eat a coney, have a beer, go gamble at Greektown. Drive by the old Tiger Stadium. Detroit gets a bad rep from outsiders, but it's one of the best cities out there. The people are great, the art is beautiful and it's rich in history. #Pure Michigan